If a person dies in a hospital that accepts Medicare, the hospital is required by law to contact either Carolina Donor Services or LifeShare of the Carolinas to alert them to the possibility of a donor. Both these organizations serve different parts of North Carolina.
These two organizations are organ procurement organizations (OPO). They would then contact the family of the deceased to discuss organ donation ( How Does It Work? ).
Effective January 1, 2005 federally-designated OPOs and eyebanks operating in North Carolina can check the Department of Motor Vehicles secure database (Organ Donor Internet site) to determine if someone wanted to be a donor at the time of their death (Senate Bill 852). The OPO would then seek consent from the individual's next of kin for organ, tissue or eye donation. The designation on a driver's license, per North Carolina law, is only an indication of intent and is not legally binding. Consequently, if your family member dies at home or in a long-term care facility and they indicated on their driver's license that they would like to be a donor, an OPO representative will probably try to contact you.
|Carolina Donor Services||800-200-2672|
|LifeShare of the Carolinas||800-932-4483|
|NC Eye Bank||336-765-0932|
In North Carolina, a properly executed (signed, witnessed & dated) donor card is now a legal document for organ/eye/tissue recovery.
North Carolina does have the First Person Consent Legislation. Senate Bill 907 (G.S. 130A-406) was ratified on January 1, 2002. This legislation allows donor designation to be indicated on a driver’s license and on an officially signed legal donor card, which gives hospitals legal authority to proceed with organ procurement, even against the wishes of the family. No additional consent form is required. The donor card must be signed and witnessed by two people. The designation on a driver's license, per North Carolina law, is only an indication of intent and is not legally binding. Please note, however, that the OPO will try to work with a family that is not in agreement. They will try to help the family understand the process and the implications so that they will come to agree that donation is best. If they do not, the OPO may be hesitant to proceed.
Please also note that the OPO will need to have the donor card or a copy of the donor card to proceed against a family objection to the donation. It would be a good idea to keep the card in your wallet and to give your doctor, the hospital admitting personnel, and the hospice nurse (if applicable) a copy of the card.
More Detailed Information on the Legislation
NC Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (Scroll to GS 130A-402 thru 414)
Registering your desire to be an organ donor is easy in North Carolina. The North Carolina Secretary of State offers the ability to register online. The organ donor card is available to download or you may complete it online and then print it. You will need to print it because, to be an official legal document, it will need to be witnessed and signed by two other people. The registry is voluntary. It is a way for you to keep up with your choice. Access to the information is through a given file number and password. It is not a registry where anyone can identify those who have registered.
Be sure to share a copy of the donor card with your family, friends, physician, and attorney or future executor and put a copy in your End of Life Plan.
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